‘Poisoned Holy Grail.’ This is how the Korean national football team coach position is expressed. This is because the national team coach is in the spotlight with full authority, such as the selection of players, but is sometimes in a position where he has to deal with all sorts of criticism and even take responsibility. There are people who have risen to the ranks of ‘national leaders’ like coach Guus Hiddink (77, Netherlands), who wrote the legend of the World Cup semifinals, while there are also leaders who were kicked out in the middle with results that fell below expectations.
Coach Paulo Bento (54, Portugal) is evaluated as a successful leader. It is thanks to the achievement of advancing to the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Now he has left, and the Korea Football Association has begun to recruit a new person to succeed Bento. As much as Bento has had a successful World Cup, the next coach must also begin his term with the burden of doing more.
The National Football Association’s National Team Strengthening Committee held its first online meeting in the late afternoon of the 25th. The meeting, which was held behind closed doors, was attended by seven people, including Chairman Michael Müller, Korea Professional Football Federation Technical Committee Chairman Park Tae-ha, Cheongju FC coach Choi Yun-gyeom, Incheon United coach Cho Sung-hwan, Hanyang University coach Jeong Jae-kwon, Inha University sports department professor Kwak Hyo-beom, and Gwangju FC coach Lee Jeong-hyo. An official from the Korea Football Association said, “Since it is a closed meeting, there is nothing to disclose.” The new coach is expected to be appointed before the A match period (March 20-28).
Chi Chi (62, Brazil), the former coach of the Brazilian national team, is known to be in the spotlight. Former coach Chichi served as the manager of the prestigious Brazilian club SC Corinthians, and from 2016 he led the samba corps. Brazil, who lifted the Copa America championship in 2019, looked to conquer the World Cup in Qatar, but gave up their dream in the quarterfinals. Brazilian media reported that “former coach Chichi was offered the position of coach of the Korean national team until the 2026 World Cup qualifiers in North and Central America, but he declined.” However, there is a possibility that the Korea Football Association will try to persuade him if it is judged that former coach Chichi is the right person for the position of head of the national team.
The name of former coach Jose Bordalas (58, Spain) is also on the rise. Former striker Bor Dallas began his coaching career in 1993 and built his career through lower league teams. He is evaluated as having excellent leadership enough to promote Deportivo Alaves in 2015 and En Getafe to La Liga the following year. From 2021, he led Valencia, where Lee Kang-in played, and made it to the final of the Spanish King’s Cup (Copa del Rey), but was eventually hardened. In particular, former coach Bordalas criticized Lee Kang-in’s transfer as “an incomprehensible decision.” Former manager Bor Dallas has a rich club career, but he has never been in charge of the national team.
Former coach Thorsten Fink (메이저놀이터, who gave wings to Son Heung-min in Hamburg, Germany, is also one of the candidates. Former coach Pink was put in as a relief pitcher for Vissel Kobe in the Japanese J-League, which fell 13th in the 2019 season, and showed leadership to reorganize the team and lead it to victory in the Emperor’s Cup. In particular, along with Son Heung-min, he formed a relationship with Park Joo-ho (Suwon FC) in Switzerland and Lee Jin-hyun (Daejeon) in Vienna, Austria. He also worked with Kim Seung-gyu (Al-Shabaab) in Kobe. Former manager Pink said, “Recently, it has become important to understand the social and cultural background of each country surrounding soccer.”